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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Samantha Cole

Above and Beneath the Definitive Structure was all about black black black. And structure and shaping. But it was the figure hugging knitwear and velvets which won me over. Shown on Monday 21st February at Freemasons Hall.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Avril Kelly.

I am not a big fan of all black outfits so a show entirely consisting of unrelenting black is unlikely to be a winner with me. The Samantha Cole A/W 2011 collection Above and Beneath the Definitive Structure was all about black, black, black. Black in differing fabrics with differing reactions to light, but nevertheless black.

A succession of models – sporting futuristic up-dos and violent black eye make-up that stretched from lash to eyebrow – slowly filtered past us in the upstairs salon of Freemasons Hall. This might not have been so noticeable had the majority of us not just come from the Bunmi Koko show, where models had been sent down the catwalk at breakneck speed. People could be seen shifting in their seats, checking their watches, unused to this sudden slow down in a season of warp speed catwalking.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Jane Young.

The first models wore abstract linear prints etched onto squared off one-shoulder minidresses and boxy shapes that stood proud of the body. Leather crunched unforgivingly in all the wrong places and harsh catwalk lighting rendered black leather a pallid grey against the darkness of light absorbing black velvet. This had the air of clever ideas lost in translation.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Much more successful and flattering were form-hugging knitwear and velvet fabrics that wrapped sexily around bosoms and hips, a giant head-swallowing Elizabethan ruffled neckbrace and the last outfit of the show – an intriguingly cut maxi length dress, draped skirt swinging from a high waistline shaped away from the body.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi
Samantha Cole A/W 2011 by Madi.

Strangely, she only showed one dress that featured her unique signature shape – exaggerated 3D hips.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

Samantha Cole is known for her desire to clothe the strong and empowered female, and we’ve previously interviewed her about some stunning work, and Matt Bramford was rightly impressed with her her show as part of On/Off a year ago. It’s clear that despite the copious use of black Samantha has some wonderful ideas, but sadly this collection was not as fabulous as it could have been.

Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia GregorySamantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory
Samantha Cole A/W 2011. Photography by Amelia Gregory.

As our applause died down we could hear loud whooping as the models headed backstage. Three giggling ladies popped out to take a bow, followed by another lady on her own. Which one, I wondered, was the real Samantha Cole?

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